Is it safe to say that it's officially Summer? We are expecting a mini heatwave this coming weekend, with temperatures higher than the expected temperature in Ibiza! It's definitely time to dig out the Summer clothes, which means that it's time to prep my feet and legs.
Prepping my feet are easier now with Korean's innovative foot peeling treatments (you soak your feet in a solution for a couple of hours, and several days later all your dead skin will start to peel off, revealing baby soft skin), but shaving is always bothersome because my hair grows back much faster in the warmer days, and I hate shaving.
So when Braun offered me to trial their latest Silk-Expert IPL (Intense Pulse Light)* Hair Removal System, I quickly said yes! I'm not brave enough to try an epilator, but I'm more than happy to try an IPL, because surely it can't be as bad as having your hair pulled out right? And if it can really reduce hair growth, I won't be needing to shave all the time this Summer. We'll be in Hong Kong and Taiwan for 3 weeks and it wouldn't be convenient if I have to shave every 2 days!
It was a lovely surprise to receive the Silk-Expert IPL, not only because it looks so posh, but also because it came with a Sonic Body Exfoliator! I suffer from Keratosis Pilaris and I heard that exfoliating and moisturising might help (but I'm too lazy to use sponges...). People also said that exfoliating before shaving gives a cleaner shave, so I'm definitely in for a treat!
*IPL: it works by flashing intense pulses of light into the skin that targets the melanin (skin and hair pigment) in the hair, helping to break the cycle of hair-growth. Continuous periodic use (once a week) helps prevent unwanted hair from reaching the skin's surface.
Braun's Silk-Expert IPL Hair Removal System are currently sold as Special Beauty Editions, which comes with either their Sonic Body Exfoliator or Face Cleansing Brush. They are both RRP £399.99, with the Face Cleansing Brush system exclusive to Boots. I'll be reviewing the IPL+ Sonic Body Exfoliator Special Beauty Edition here, which comes with:
Braun's Silk-Expert IPL
Sonic Body Exfoliator
Braun's IPL contains the fastest IPL technology available, flashing every 0.9-1.9 seconds. It is capable of producing 120,000 flashes, which means that if used only on the lower legs, underarm and bikini or face, the flashes allow arround 14 years of use.
You can also download the free Braun IPL treatment plan app for Android or iOS, to set reminders for your treatments.
IPL can be used on:
ladies - legs, arms, underarms, bikini line, face (below cheek bones)
men - shoulders and below (except genital area)
Braun does not recommend their IPL for people with very blonde, red, grey or white hair as there isn't enough melanin for the IPL to work on, nor for people who has very dark skin tone as the pigment will absorb more light energy that may cause discomfort/ pain and adverse effects (burns, blisters, etc).
They recommend their latest Silk-epil 9 SkinSpa pack instead (RRP 179.99, available at Boots), which comes with Braun's fastest and most precise epilator to date, a new Deep Exfoliation Brush to help reduce ingrown hairs and a Sensitive Exfoliation Brush to help visibly refine skin.
Packaging:I absolutely love their packaging, from the box to the tools themselves! They look very chic, and will make a very luxury beauty gift. The layout inside the box is very well thought through, and it reminds me of that feeling when you open a suede jewellery box to find the most sparkly necklace inside!
|Left: Maximum light intensity for my skin tone! Had to tone it down by pressing the Gentle mode because I'm still a bit scared haha|
A very stylish tool with a beautiful pearl white handle and satin rose gold head. It looks very simple to use because there isn't all sorts of buttons and options to confuse you. It is a bit heavy, especially when it's attached to the power supply, so sitting down for your treatments would be better.
The white and light blue LED lights are so pretty! The white light intensity power bars (one on each side so you can always see it) changes when the blue skin sensors are being moved around. The SensoAdapt Technology reads the skin tone up to 80 times per second and adjust the light intensity to the correct, safe level between every pulse. It's certainly working! And after activating the Gentle Mode (the feather button), the intensity went down just as it should be (do note that normal mode is more effective than gentle mode).
How to use:
Make sure your skin is clean with hair completely removed, dry and without any products on.
Attach the IPL to the power cable (light and fan will come on) and press the IPL treatment window firmly onto the skin, with both skin sensors touching the skin. When the power bar is white, press the treatment button (the bigger one on top of the feather one). The IPL will flash in a red/ yellow colour.
You can choose to let go of the button as soon as it has flashed, and move to the next area (as close to the previous area as possible), or hold onto the button and after every flash, glide the IPL to the next area. For first time users and sensitive areas it is recommended to let go every time after it has flashed.
After treatment, apply a minimum of SPF15 and avoid sun exposure.
Read the manual:
Because it's a very new concept to me, I read through their manual, and was almost too afraid to try the IPL because there were a lot of caution messages listed. The IPL isn't suitable for everyone as stated above, and there are other conditions when the IPL shouldn't be used as well. But it is clinically tested and some places offer 100 days money back guarantee (for example Argos). So if you do get it, read the manual carefully and do a patch test. If it really doesn't suit you at least you know you can get your money back.
I wouldn't return mine though!
So I did a patch test after delaying for a couple of days ("first shave after the Winter months, boo!", "Ooo it's not a clean shave! Let's try again tomorrow..."), and it was much more pleasant than I thought. I did get a tiny feeling, but because you are only required to do 2 flashes worth of area, it wasn't enough for me to acknowledge what it felt like. It quickly disappeared too (unlike the shave and scratched pain!), so I was really looking forward to my first treatment.
(Just a note to say that, to test the IPL, I only treated one of my lower leg, so I can compare the 2)
I've done 2 treatments now. It is recommended to do 4 to 12 weekly treatments, and then you can space it out, eg once a month.
I haven't found the correct word to describe what it feels like for every flash. Some area, where my skin is more fair with less hair growth, I hardly feel anything, just a warm puff of air perhaps in the area. For area with coarser hair and denser growth, and darker skin tone as well, I can feel a "zing"? Like when you can suddenly feel the heat from a hair dryer on one spot.
What I can say is that it's not unendurable, and most of the time it felt like little puffs of heat, with a couple of areas where I felt a zing. I think that's when the light intensity got stronger. It's good that there is gentle mode for me to tone the intensity down. The feeling doesn't last though. As I said, I can feel a patch where I scratched myself with the shaver more than where I used the IPL, and I can still feel the scratch, but the treated area felt like I haven't done anything to it.
According to the manual, this sensation should decrease with continuous use.
Initially I adjusted the position of the IPL for the next treatment area between every flash, but after treating half of my lower leg, I became a bit more confident, and I know what to expect, so I started gliding the IPL across. I only removed the IPL after the odd heat that was a bit stronger.
This is what I like about the IPL. I bet I'll be in tears if I'm doing this in a beauty salon with no control over the light intensity and speed of the process. Doing it myself means that I am in control and know when and what to expect, making the treatment quite alright for me. I'm not one who will try waxing and I'm still scared of the idea of using an epilator (although I did think about it), so for those who are ok with waxing or visiting a beauty salon, I bet using the IPL will be a pleasure!
Although it's still too early to see results, I'm more than happy to continue the treatment. It's so easy to use and it only take minutes to do one lower leg. I wouldn't worry about sensitive area either. I think if anything, you'll feel it more in coarser, darker area.
Sonic Body Exfoliator:
I didn't realise how beautiful the exfoliator is until I brought it into our shower room. The spot lights reflected all the sparkles on the handle and the purple ring, it's mesmerising! It's solid but light enough to hold for a good duration. It's also very easy to use, just press the white wheel on the ring and turn clockwise to switch it on. There is a white LED light above the ring, and a little green one at the bottom (charging light) that will change to red when it's time to charge. I'm quite surprised that it came charged, so you can literally use it as soon as you get it! I'm quite happy with the brush texture as well, which is just right to give my skin a good buff!
You can use this on dry or wet skin. Simply move the switched on exfoliator gently and slowly over your skin in circles.
It's perfect for in the shower when you can use it with your shower gel. Just make sure that the exfoliator is not directly inside the water when you exfoliate (wet skin but not inside the bathtub filled with water for example) as it's less efficient.
It's great to exfoliate before shaving, because it gives a much cleaner shave. It certainly felt like that to me when I used it! It is also suppose to help reduce ingrown hairs. Do make sure you follow it with moisturising the exfoliated area (after shaving and IPL treatment if you use them together).
It's very obvious that my skin felt much smoother after using it! And the exfoliator really look very pretty in my shower so I'm definitely going to use this frequently. Do make sure that you let the brush head dry thoroughly, and wash it after ever use so it'll last longer.
So these are my initial thoughts. I'll continue my treatment and will definitely report back with the result!